Why Can’t I Find a Job? 14 Common Reasons

If you’ve been job searching for more than a month and haven’t gotten the results you want, this article is going to help you answer “Why can’t I find a job?” Go through the scenarios below, decide which one describes your situation best, and read what you need to do to fix it and get hired!

1. You don’t really know what you’re looking for

Too many job hunters start looking for roles without really knowing what they are looking for. Those who are just starting out in their career or professionals looking to make a complete career change often fall into this trap. While it may be tempting to casually browse job sites to “see what’s out there”, this is not an effective way to conduct your job hunt. If you haven’t decided where you want your career to go yet, stop job hunting and start thinking. It’s beneficial to make a list of all the professions/industries you may be interested in as a starting point. While making your list, be sure to think about what your natural strengths are and what you enjoy. With your list in place, you can start conducting some proper research into your career options before narrowing them down. You shouldn’t be starting your job search with any more than two key job titles that you want to find.

2. You haven’t set yourself any goals

It can be hard to keep your motivation levels up when conducting your job search. Day one is great – you find roles that sound exciting and you happily send off some well thought out cover letters and CVs. However, as time ticks on, you’ve written what feels like a hundred cover letters and you don’t hear much back from employers, finding the motivation to keep your job search going is tough. This is why setting yourself job hunting goals is so important. It’s all about the little wins. Set yourself daily targets for how many jobs you want to apply for and how much time you are going to spend job hunting. If you then achieve your targets and stick to your timescales you’ll feel much more motivated and like you’ve achieved something each day.

3. You’re not mixing it up

Job boards are a great place to find and apply for jobs. However, they are not the only place you should be conducting your job search. It’s important to mix things up and use a variety of other sources including:
  • Social media
  • Company websites
  • Recruitment companies
  • Asking friends and family

4. Employers are ghosting you

Do you feel like you’re sending your CV into oblivion because you’re just not hearing back from anyone? This is one of the most demotivating and frustrating parts of job hunting. However, the good news is that you can turn it around. The obvious problem here would be your CV. Stop firing out applications and take some time to re-read and review what you’re saying there and whether it fits with the roles you are applying for. Remember, you should be tailoring your CV to each application to make it clear for employers that you are a great match for their role. One area where job hunters often go wrong is in their personal statement. This should be at the top of your CV and introduce who you are, what you have to offer and what you are looking for. It’s a tricky area to get right, but here are some CV personal statement examples that may help.

5. You’re not following up on applications

If you don’t hear back from employers after a couple of weeks then get in touch with them to see what’s happening. This can either be via a call or an email. If at this stage you’re informed that your application was unsuccessful then you have an opportunity to ask for feedback.

6. You’re falling at the final hurdle

Have you had a number of interviews but they’re just not resulting in job offers? If this is the case, then it’s time to brush up on your interview technique. The first thing you should do is always get feedback after an unsuccessful interview. This way you will be able to take any constructive criticism on board and use it to do better in your future interviews. You should also ensure that you are conducting thorough research before your interview and that you’re prepared for common interview questions and answers. Job searching can be tough, but if you keep at it and get these six errors in check, you’ll get to that all-important job offer in the end.  

7. Carelessness

That spelling mistake in your resume should have taken you two minutes to catch if you had done a careful proofread. Make sure your materials are cleanly presented, and show that you put at least the minimum of effort into your application. If you don’t have the careful eye required, have someone else proofread your materials and profiles for you.

8. You Look Flighty

You might have a good reason for hopping around from job to job. Say you were a full-time student until recently and were working odd jobs to keep yourself fed and clothed and housed. Unless you have a good narrative to explain your spotty history, leave off any jobs lasting fewer than three months. And then use the “About you” section or question to explain your situation. The key thing is to demonstrate that you are not a flight risk.  

9. Poor Presentation

If you showed up scruffy and unshaven, with rumpled clothes, or—worse—you didn’t shower, then that could explain why you’re not converting interviews into offers. Take out your piercing, wear long sleeves over your tattoos, and comb your hair. Act professional and people will assume you can be treated (and hired) as such.

10. You’re Overqualified

If you have a lot of fancy education, skills, and experience on your resume and you’re applying for jobs well below your pay grade, that might explain the lack of calls. Remember that entry-level jobs are meant for entry-level employees. Don’t bother to apply for them if you’ve moved beyond that stage in your career—no matter how much you want to get a job.

11. Smoking

Seriously, smoking is so 1992. If you come into an interview reeking of cigarettes, your potential employer is going to be turned off. They’ll also think that customers could potentially be turned off as well. Quit now. Your health and your career will thank you for it.

12. Bad Attitude

It might not be your fault that you’re depressed or frustrated. But it is your fault for showing it in an interview situation. Keep your anger about your job search frustration, or your lay-off, or your bad former boss to yourself. Be pleasant and positive and show yourself in your best light as a future coworker.

13. You Didn’t Pay Attention

The job posting is your best friend. It asks for specific materials and describes, specifically, what the company is looking for. Failure to read this carefully, and determine whether you can deliver what is asked, is all on you. Do exactly what you’re asked to do. Follow the directions to the letter and prove to your potential boss that you can carry out whatever task He/she gives you—without having to be told twice.

14. Poor Communication

You talk too much or too little. Your interviewer has to coax monosyllabic answers out of you. You stray off the topic of the question. You can’t get your strong points across in words. Beef up your communication skills, and you should see a marked improvement.  

How to Use This Information to Find a Job

If you follow these steps to figure out where your job search is stalling or going wrong, and then take the recommend steps to fix the problems, you will be much more likely to find a job. I’m not saying this is easy, and if you found this page, you’re probably pretty frustrated and feel like you’ve tried a lot already. But you CAN improve. Every job seeker can find something on this page to improve. So if you can’t find a job, bookmark this page and use it as a reference to adjust and improve until you do find a job.

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